What´s wrong with our education
and how to fix it
Hello, my friends to another random thought of mine.
Today I have for you my
thoughts about education, what´s wrong with it and my suggestions about how we
could fix it.
My hope is that this will give you some thoughts to ponder and maybe you will initiate a change into the right direction. Maybe one will talk with somebody that has influence or find a way himself how to implement change.
I will start with some of the most important things that are going wrong in our education system. Then, I will talk about my ideas about how to fix it.
So, what´s wrong with our
I think that it all starts with the fact that the school system we use nowadays is outdated. The idea of a strict curriculum in schools with always following a book comes from old age learning. Back in the days one monk went into a country, learned the language, wrote a book and sent it back to the monastery. In the monastery, the monks copied the book and learned the language from it to later go into the country to preach. Thus, the monks had a big part of the day to only focus on one subject. However, we have way too many subjects to follow this instructional paradigm blindly and our world is changing so fast that new knowledge that is important needs to be implemented faster in the curriculum.
One example is writing with a keyboard. In my school (I finished in 2012) it was only a voluntarily course to learn how to write with all 10 fingers. However, already for many years became writing on typewriters and computers more and more popular. Especially, since the beginning of 2000 but the system was way too slow to adapt to this change and implement this crucial skill into the school. There are countless more examples but let’s move on.
Another problem in my eyes is that we learn too much that´s not important for most of us and doesn´t give us a lot of knowledge that we need for life. The system that should educate us for life and help us to become good, useful and productive citizens fails at its core task.
For example, we all learn about higher calculus and Shakespeare. However, close to nobody of us uses those for life. It seems as if education is separated from the real world. As if it´s totally loose from reality.
I also acknowledge that the system is part of the problem itself. It´s too much built into our society. Many years of doing mostly the same (we probably talk about hundreds of years without major change) made it very rigid. Additionally, we have often too many students for too few and overworked teachers because of too many working hours. The students are often bored and/or overwhelmed (often depending on the subject they are in) and an inflexible curriculum doesn´t allow for adjustments. The teachers cannot adjust the speed to the learning speed of the students. This often results in only a part of the students understanding the new subject while another part is still trying to understand the subject before. Additionally, the students cannot adjust the subjects towards their interests. Don´t get me wrong. I believe that we all need a general knowledge of all subjects. However, quite early on there should be ways for students to choose, for example, a focus in one direction while another direction will get less intensive knowledge but will still improve their general knowledge.
For example, a student is good in natural science subjects but not in social science or language subjects. He should then be able to elect an intermediate course bundle for natural sciences while he can go into the basic bundles for social science and language. In this way, he would improve everywhere but would focus more on what he is interested in. Hence, he could prepare himself better for his future career.
In my experience, our language teaching has especially mixed results in teaching success. One school does a good job and another school fails totally at it. For example, I remember that my English teacher told me that I am a hopeless case and that I should stop trying to learn new languages for the rest of my life and I wasn´t the only student he encouraged this much. Besides that it is for sure one of the last things a teacher should say to a student is this a really good example of how much is wrong with education in our time. A teacher should inspire and support everybody to reach his or her best level in all the subjects. Close to nobody becomes perfect in every subject. However, we all can reach at least an intermediate level in all subjects.
Hence, the way of teaching is outdated, the curriculum is not flexible, and many times outdated. Furthermore, many things that are unimportant for most of us and don´t prepare for life and the system needs adjustments.
Thus, now let´s move on to the necessary adjustments.
The following are my thoughts and probably not complete, yet, I hope that they can help as a primer.
I think the main focus should be on teaching broad knowledge in all areas but only specific for people that need it.
For example, instead of learning higher calculus and Shakespeare should school give this complex knowledge to students that will later need it. Or maybe even better, they should focus on the basic parts that are important for everybody and universities should give complex and specific knowledge?
Let´s take for example our natural science student from the example above. If he enjoys his school time more because of less pressure in subjects that he doesn´t enjoy, then he can focus more on the subjects he enjoys and build there a strong knowledge base for his further career.
The then freed energy and time could be invested in broader courses. For example, courses about important life skills like finance, taxes, teaching how to learn, scheduling, solicitating, debating, improving writing, nutrition, entrepreneurial skills or other comparable skills. Some could even be in a mandatory course that covers over the years many different subjects with examples and exercises.
So, I believe that the school system needs to adjust more to what is needed in today’s world. And that´s mainly, broad knowledge about the world and then specific knowledge to make a living.
I hope that our future education will adjust to the requirements of the world. We need a good educational system so that we can cope with an ever-changing world. Sadly, for now, is our educational system outdated and too rigid for a rapidly changing and advancing world.
I am now in the last stages of finishing my master’s degree and I am disappointed how bad our educational system prepared me for most things. I didn´t get a lot of preparation for life although I spent 13 years in school! In university, it was for me, a bit better but still, I didn´t get a lot of information about things that I actually need to live in the 21st century. It sometimes seems that everybody is pushing the responsibility around instead of taking action towards the improvement of the system.
I hope that this post can be a spark of inspiration for some of you to try to improve the educational system.